EDINBURGH, Scotland – Scotland has a big decision to make very soon, which could change the course of history.
In just about 100 days, voters will decide whether to remain part of the United Kingdom.
The debate is passionate and opinion polls on the outcome are narrowing.
Seven centuries have passed since Scottish forces defeated England’s Army after a series of bloody battles, including the one that was depicted in Mel Gibson’s ‘Braveheart.’
In Bannockburn, some are fighting to get that independence back.
Scotland ceded power to London when it joined the United Kingdom in 1707.
Just 15 years ago, some of that power was taken back with the creation of a new Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.
Now, many Scots want to go all the way with full independence.
On Sept. 18, people in Scotland over the age of 16 will have their say once and for all in a referendum that asks, ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’
It’s a debate of the heart but it’s also about money.
Bob Conway, a locksmith, said, “I think we can succeed. We’ve got our very own oil industry, which we’ve been told for years is going to run out in 10 years, 20 years and it’s still going strong. We’ve also got our own Silicon Valley in the Highlands and we supply maybe 30 or 40 percent of the circuit boards across Europe. We’ve got a fantastic whisky industry. As a business, there is some fear and trepidation. I am not saying that Scotland would get it right all the time but we would be allowed to make our own decisions. I feel that if you make your own decisions, you have to learn from your own mistakes and we’re not getting that chance just now.”
Chloe Campbell, a shop assistant, said, “I am against independence because I feel there are so many answers we don’t have and there is so much information that we are not provided by Alex Salmond. And it is very difficult to make a decision based on your future and your country when you don’t have the answers. I think it is silly to make that big a decision and it is a risk to take without knowing the full information.”
If the measure passes, there may be years of negotiations over big issues like dividing up the U.K.’s oil wealth and national debt.
Lawmakers will have to decide whether it remains part of the European Union, whether it keeps the British pound or turns to its own currency and central bank.